Discalced Carmelites of the Australia Oceania Region


Formation is a life-long experience, we are all called to grow more and more into the image and likeness of God, or, as St Paul says, “to be con-formed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29). As Carmelites we consider formation to be a life-long journey of conversion and growth.

We do, however, make a distinction between initial formation and on-going formation. Here we will briefly outline the various stages of initial formation that covers the period leading up to and culminating in a solemn and public profession of a commitment to continue this journey in Carmel for the rest of one’s life.

No doubt before making that first contact with us there will be much pondering and reflecting, but at some point the decision is made to at least enquire. Now you will be accompanied by someone from the Discalced Carmelites in finding out more about this way of life and discerning if this is the path God wants you to follow in life. Discernment is probably the key word to describe the whole process of initial formation.


After communicating for a time, as well as visiting, and even occasionally staying in the community for some days, the next step is to become a postulant. This is a mutually arrived at decision between you, the candidate, and the host community and requires the permission of the major superior. Postulancy is a more prolonged experience of living in community and is usually for a period of 6 months to a year. A postulant is free to leave at any time.


Postulancy is followed by the first formal stage of the journey in initial formation – Novitiate. As a novice you are clothed in the Discalced Carmelite habit during a simple ceremony in the presence of the community. A novice participates more fully in the life of the community and follows a more structured program of instruction and guidance. This is a time to really begin to explore our Carmelite way of life and discover the riches of our charism. The Novitiate is for a period of one year and novices are free to leave at any time.

Simple Profession

Having had the opportunity to experience the life in Carmel “from the inside” during Novitiate, the next stage on the journey is Simple Profession of vows. Simple or Temporary Profession is a commitment to live according to the vows for one year at a time. The vows are renewed annually, and our constitutions say that the period of temporary vows may be not less than 3 years and not more than 6 years. During this period you will embark on a program of studies that includes both theology and spirituality. There will also be other more specialised studies that will equip you for your future life of service to the Order and the Church. After Solemn Profession, those preparing for priesthood continue their preparations for ordination to diaconate and ultimately priestly ordination.